Selling on Ebay – an Introduction

eBay used to be known as the site where you would post your stuff to auction it off, but it has changed quite a bit over the years and it is now one of the most popular online marketplaces, boasting more than 160 million shoppers.

If you’re an online shopper, you can snag some awesome deals on eBay on a wide range of products, but if you are a business-minded person and you want to start using the power of this global website, you can start selling your own merchandise to boost your bottom line.

According to eBay, the site sells a pair of shoes every two seconds, a handbag every six seconds, and a mobile phone every four seconds. Those are stats that are definitely worth bragging about, and if you want to get in on the action, it’s easy to become an eBay seller.

The Basics of Being an eBay Seller

eBay is free to use if you are planning on listing up to 50 products for sale in a month. If you want to list more than 50 products a month, you will be charged a small fee for each listing. At that point, it would be wise to invest in an eBay Stores Subscription, which will allow you to post hundreds, or even thousands, of items for free in exchange for a monthly subscription rate. Then, every time that you make a sale, a percentage of your profits will be taken by eBay and the company will send you the rest.

Listing your inventory only takes a few minutes. All you have to do is take some high quality photos of each item (you are allowed to post up to 12 photos at no charge), and then post them along with a title and description.

eBay will even help you determine a competitive price so that customers will be more inclined to purchase from you rather than other sellers. Then all you have to do is sit back and wait for customers to find your inventory and purchase it.

Listing Formats and Fees

One of the features that distinguishes eBay from other online marketplaces is the fact that you can choose to list your item as an auction or at a fixed price. As you are creating a listing, the site will help you determine which option would be better for your inventory so you can figure out how to sell your products in a shorter amount of time.

If you are planning on selling an item that is rare, one-of-a-kind, and not typically found on eBay, it is best to go with an auction style listing. This could also be a good idea if you have an item that is in high demand but in short supply, even if there are other sellers on eBay who are offering it at the time.On the other hand, if you have products that are already selling consistently on eBay, and if there is a large supply, you’re better off going with a fixed price listing. This will ensure that you can competitively price your inventory to generate sales, based upon a bit of research into what other sellers are making on the same items.

Other Perks of Selling on eBay

When you sign up and get your seller account going, you will gain access to a global community of shoppers. On top of that:

  • eBay will provide you with shipping labels that you can print out right at home.
  • You will even receive big discounts (up to 25% off) on the cost of postage to ship your items to customers. (At least that’s what it says on their U.S. site.)
  • After you make a sale, if you decide that you don’t want to ship the item by mail, you can set up a local pickup location and time with the buyer instead.
  • You will also have seller protection, which utilises automated detection systems to monitor transactions. This creates a secure e-commerce marketplace on which you can start generating a steady stream of income.

Those are some nice perks!

Getting Paid the Smart Way

After you make a sale on eBay, your profits can be securely and safely handled by PayPal for a fee. You can link your PayPal account to your listings so buyers can submit their payments directly. However, another way to receive your money is by accepting credit card payments from your customers, if you don’t want to work with PayPal.

Because eBay is a global marketplace, you can certainly sell to consumers from all over the world, thereby increasing your customer base and taking advantage of buying trends in other countries. But international sales that are made online can be tricky, because you can lose a percentage of your profits when it’s time to bring your money home. As of January 2017, PayPal charges 3.9% plus $0.30 on each transaction sold to buyers outside the U.S., which can really cut into your bottom line. To avoid such heavy costs, many sellers of all sizes choose to take advantage of OFX’s online seller account to save money on every international sale.

With OFX, you could save on the costs related to exchanging currencies when bringing your money home. Your funds will be delivered securely and rapidly once you create your receiving account, which is compatible with the eBay online marketplace.  With your virtual international account(s), you can receive payments in USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, HKD, and CAD. It’s also free to sign up, so you keep more of your hard earned cash.

Let eBay Do All the Work

eBay Valet is the ideal service for those who want to get into the world of e-commerce but don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to keeping inventory and making shipments.

After choosing the products that you want to sell on eBay, all you have to do is use the site’s prepaid shipping labels to submit your items to an eBay valet. If there is an eBay Drop-Off Centre or FedEx Office nearby, you can forgo the shipping altogether and instead just drop off your inventory.

Then all you have to do is relax. The valets, who are experienced experts at selling on eBay, will take care of the rest. When an item is purchased, you will receive a percentage of the earnings, depending upon the sale price. The higher the sale price, the greater your earnings will be.

Successful Selling Tips

Selling on eBay could be something you do every now and then when you find items around the house that you no longer use, or you can get serious about your seller account and turn it into an online business.

  • If you want to set up an online shop that will consistently earn profits, it all starts with your inventory, so you need to begin by determining what products you want to sell. A lot of successful sellers set up their storefronts after establishing a theme. You can find a popular niche to sell specific items that are of interest to you so you can be enthusiastic about what you’re offering. This also allows you to hone in on a particular target market.
  • Researching what products are selling really well on eBay, and which ones sell at the highest prices, will also help you decide upon the best direction to take for the biggest possible earnings. Performing this type of market research will help you focus in on an audience of motivated buyers. You can more easily see what people are searching for and what they are willing to spend a lot of money on, and those factors will drive your decisions.
  • Once you decide what products you want to sell, you’ll have to figure out where your inventory will come from. Vintage items can be found at local flea markets, while brand name items can be purchased at a discount and then sold at a higher price. You can even find suppliers who will sell you products in bulk at a discounted rate so you can list your inventory at a price that will get you a great return.
  • When it comes to making your listings, spend time writing professional descriptions. If you need help in this area, it would be wise to hire a writer who can clearly describe what makes your products so special.To complete your listing, take high quality images of your products from various angles. If you don’t have the equipment or the know-how to take stellar pics, hiring a local product photographer is the way to go.
  • Selling online can be a challenge when customers aren’t satisfied, and this can happen on eBay. As a seller, you will need to be prepared to provide outstanding customer service to keep people happy and coming back for more. When you are able to make sales consistently, and when you are able to get great reviews by keeping customers happy, eBay will classify you as a Top Rated Seller. This distinction will serve like a badge of honour, as it will prove to other potential customers that you are a fantastic and trustworthy seller.
  • If you’re handling the shipping of your items, always send them promptly once they’re sold.

Provided that you are able to send high quality items right away to your customers, you will start receiving positive reviews on your shop, and that will entice even more buyers to purchase from you.

Getting Your Start in E-Commerce

If selling on eBay sounds like something that you want to do to get your feet wet in the world of e-commerce, a little preparation goes a long way. Do some internet research for best practices when selling on eBay or check out our Resource Hub for online sellers to learn more about the ins-and-outs of online selling.

*Average savings based on a sample of published transaction fees for cross border payments provided by PayPal dated 3.1.17. Quoted savings are not indicative of future savings. Third party intermediary fees may apply.


IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. OzForex Limited (trading as OFX) and its affiliated entities make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.

Written by

OFX team

We help businesses and individuals securely send money around the world by making it easier to navigate the complexities of foreign exchange. Our team consists of foreign exchange experts, dedicated support staff and knowledgeable writers.